By train from Germany to Switzerland, how does that work?

Train tickets from Germany to Switzerland

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InterCity Express to Frankfurt just before departure from Brussels.

InterCity and EuroCity trains from Germany to Switzerland

There are many trains connecting Germany to Switzerland. The trains are comfortable and definitely recommended over flights. Berlin to Basel at the Swiss border takes about 7 hours. Köln (Cologne) to Basel takes 4 hours, and from Frankfurt it takes less than 3 hours. München doesn't have a fast train to Switzerland, but of course the trip can be made, either by train or bus.

The high speed InterCity Express trains (ICE) allow you to connect your Wifi device to the "ICE Portal" and watch movies. This "maxdome" service is free, but you can pay for a wider range of videos.

How to get the cheapest tickets

  • Prices may vary by the date and time of traveling. It helps if your travel date and time are flexible. You can book up to 3 months before traveling, but often even earlier. Please find prices here;
  • There are cheap night train tickets if you book early. These trains are not available on all routes;
  • Check if there are promotions;
  • If you have a Swiss rail pass, you only need a ticket to the Swiss border: usually that's Basel Bad Bf (or Basel SBB) or Schaffhausen. For example: with a Swiss Travel Pass, you do not need a full ticket from Berlin to Zurich, because the leg from Basel to Zurich is covered by the pass. A ticket to Basel is sufficient;
  • An alternative to booking a ticket to the Swiss border station, is to book a ticket for the "passholder fare". That's a ticket for the entire route for people who own a rail pass for Switzerland or Germany. The ticket is cheaper than a regular ticket because the leg covered by the rail pass is free. An advantage of this fare is that it includes a seat reservation for the entire route, not just to the border. Passholder fares are not always available. If they're unavailable, you simply book to the border;
  • If you have a rail pass that covers both Germany and Switzerland, you don't need a ticket at all. You just need a seat reservation.


Find ticket prices and points of sale.



Check if there are promotions or discounts.



Further tips about tickets and rail passes.



Is something not clear yet? Just post your questions to the Swiss rail forum and get a quick answer.

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